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Sat, 14 Oct 2006, 11:19 AM

Top Alcohol Dragster Qualifying Notes, Final Session
By Dan Bennett

DINWIDDIE, Va. - Notes from final, round 3 qualifying in Top Alcohol Dragster at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Inaugural Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time/top speed this round, position in order following run, best prior elapsed time/speed, and position in order prior to run:
Left Lane: Jeff Bohr Runs 13.776/52.43, Now #8; Best prior run: 5.379/266.48, Was #7
Right Lane: Ken Perry Runs 5.274/258.86, Now #3; Best prior run: 5.409/252.14, Was #9

10:51 a.m.

This is great fall weather and good runs would be expected.

Bohr shakes just off the line and shuts it off. Perry makes a good run to go deep towards the top.

Left Lane: John Finke Runs 5.183/277.26, Now #1; Best prior run: 5.256/277.32, Was #2
Right Lane: Robin Samsel Runs 21.801/36.30, Now #12; Best prior run: 5.487/236.26, Was #12

The sun is bright today and is starting to burn off the heavy dew we experienced overnight. While it's pretty cold if you're stationary, it's very pleasant if you're moving about.

This is the last shot for all of these racers before eliminations begin.

This was a mirror image of the previous race. In this case the right lane was the one with the quiveriong, smoking tires.

Finke makes a real nice pass, the engine sounding strong all the way down the track. He goes to the top of the pack but expect others still in staging to have something to say about that.

John Finke's incremental times: 60ft-0.925 sec., 330ft-2.352, 660ft-3.450/228.15mph, 1,000ft-4.380

Left Lane: Wayne Morris Runs 5.732/248.43, Now #15; Best prior run: 5.886/244.38, Was #15
Right Lane: Bill Reichert Runs 5.576/271.19, Now #2; Best prior run: 5.209/276.63, Was #2

Reichert is probably just wishing for the weekend to be over so all the hubbub about the points chase gets taken care of. He's been at this long enough to focus on the task at hand, which right now is to gain the top qualifying spot.

That didn't go according to plan. Reichert's tires started doing a hula just as he stepped on the go pedal. He quickly feathered the throttle and got the car settled down at 330' or so.

Morris picks up but doesn't improve his position. He made a clean run with no apparent flaws.

Left Lane: Lee Callaway Runs 5.270/274.33, Now #3; Best prior run: 5.325/267.27, Was #6
Right Lane: Arthur Gallant Runs 5.685/212.09, Now #7; Best prior run: 5.332/269.35, Was #7

OK, that was a bit different. Gallant makes a very short burnout and I'm not sure he even got the tires smoking.

Callaway makes a normal hit and pulls to the line to wait for Gallant. He makes a pretty pass right down the middle of the left lane.

Gallant runs into the same problems as some of the others, having his slicks quiver and then downgrade into shake at about the 75' mark. He pedals it once and gets the car to settle down but the chance for a good run goes out the window.

Left Lane: Dave Hirata Runs 5.479/269.78, Now #11; Best prior run: 5.475/238.22, Was #11
Right Lane: Dave Hedges Jr. Runs 5.563/246.53, Now #14; Best prior run: 6.079/182.82, Was #16

Hedges pulls forward toward the prestage beams as Hirata is still backing up. He waits patiently until Hirata is ready.

Different pair, same story. Hirata quivered the tires hard with the car beginning to wag gently from side to side. Hedges made a much straighter pass but the performance probably wasn't what he wanted. Even so, he steps up considerably from his previous runs and gains two positions on the roster.

Left Lane: Richard Bourke Runs 5.331/261.12, Now #7; Best prior run: 5.472/248.66, Was #10
Right Lane: Dave Heitzman Runs 12.904/58.32, Now #5; Best prior run: 5.278/264.39, Was #5

Well, this pair looked different, all right. Where the other cars went into shake in the right lane, Heitzman got into serious smoke.

Bourke goes right down the track and picks up almost a tenth and a half.

Left Lane: Marty Thacker Runs 5.265/269.83, Now #3; Best prior run: 5.706/247.93, Was #15
Right Lane: Rich McPhillips Runs 5.354/264.23, Now #10; Best prior run: 5.397/255.10, Was #10

For the first time this session, we get a side by side pair and it's a great drag race.

Both cars show the way it's supposed to be done. Thacker goes all the way to the third position.

Marty Thacker's incremental times: 60ft-0.931 sec., 330ft-2.349, 660ft-3.472/219.47mph, 1,000ft-4.439

Rich McPhillips' incremental times: 60ft-0.938 sec., 330ft-2.434, 660ft-3.559/222.88mph, 1,000ft-4.516

11:12 a.m.

We end the final session and the field is set. Finke holds on the the top spot and will face #16 qualifier Morris.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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